What Everybody Ought to Know About Social Conditioning

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the danger of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of “crackpot” than the stigma of conformity. – Thomas John Watson, Sr. (Founder of IBM)

Prompt #10*: What is burning deep inside of you? If you could spread your personal message right now to 1 million people, what would you say?

“Bend social conditioning rules.”

There are written laws that we are supposed to follow. Don’t kill people for example. That’s a rule people should follow. Killing people is bad.

However, bending social conditioning rules?

That’s fair game.

So here’s the definition of social conditioning: “Social conditioning refers to the sociological process of training individuals in a society to act or respond in a manner generally approved by the society in general and peer groups within society.”

The main word there is: training.

I’m pretty sure that everyone has a variation of what their ideal life would be. Also, our ideal dreams can quickly change too. If people from all walks of life do what they want then it could break down stereotypes.

The stereotypes are there to package people into labels.

During our evolutionary times, we had to label things. We had to understand that some animals were going to eat us for dinner. We couldn’t shake their hand and learn about their individual personality. We had to label them quickly.

So that’s why labeling continues today. It goes back to the fabric of our ancestry, which is why strangers are also the root of fear.

It seems like we’re taught from the second we are born that the world is dangerous. Don’t ever let your guard down.

Nothing could be farther from the truth. Through my personal rejections, while there are the crazies out there, most people are polite and kind when you talk to them.

I don’t like compartmentalizing people in any form: race, gender, subculture. I understand there may be a need to sometimes (when there is danger) but for the most part, I turn it off. It only does harm.

Do you want to stay under the constraints of social conditioning? Or do you want to live how you want to live, like what you want to like, and date who you want to date?

Then bend the rules to your favor by talking to whomever you want to. Give them their personal space and autonomy as well but give yourself a chance to talk to them. Maybe they walk away. Maybe they become your best friend. Maybe you have a good conversation and never talk again. Maybe you date them.

Possibilities begin at the first hello.

Edited: 3/6/15

Simon Droog
Simon Droog

Great post, Matt. Thx! I'm also baffled by all the social conditioning going on in the world. Society and the majority of people in it are too much on autopilot. I can relate to liking things for all sorts of subcultures, but not going all in... I've always been like that. But in a way, I've also loved being like this. Choose what you like and disregard the rest!